Shutdown shame: Hiker nearly killed when park route closed

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A hiker who had gone missing for five days at a state park in Texas was just found alive — naked, dehydrated and nearly dead, telling rescuers that she got lost when the government shutdown led authorities to close the only route she knew.

Cathy Frye and her husband had traveled from their Arkansas home for a hiking trip at a Texas park. But when they arrived, they discovered the shutdown had shuttered their planned route through a national park, and they were instead diverted to the 300,000 acres Big Bend Ranch State Park.

It didn’t take long before they lost their way. Shortly after — and in the wilderness of the Chihauhuan desert — they ran out of food and water. Ms. Frye’s husband then decided to go for help. He left her under a small tree, and tried to find his way back to the car — but it took days.

In the meantime, Ms. Frye suffered in the desert sun. The Arkansas Business reported that by the time rescuers found her, she had become so disoriented that she had removed her clothes to keep cool.

Ms. Frye, an award-winning journalist and mother of two, said she and her husband had planned the hiking trip to celebrate their anniversary; the two had married in 2001 in the area of the park. She also said while recovering at the hospital that she thought she was going to die during the ordeal.

“How do you die knowing that your two kids are going to think your parents went off on some joy hike,” she said, in The Daily Mail.

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